Who is Amanda Gorman? Youngest poet to recite at presidential inauguration says Capitol riots changed her poem
Gorman was born and raised in Los Angeles and then did her Bachelors in sociology from Harvard University. She later became America’s first-ever national youth poet laureate in 2017
On Wednesday, January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth poet to perform at a presidential inauguration. At 22, she also made history as the youngest one as well. Now, the internet wants to know everything about this young talented singer, after labeling her performance "powerful and beautiful."
She delivered her original composition, 'The Hill We Climb', at the Capitol in front of President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and the entire nation. "It's amazing...Especially at my age. No one really gets to say, 'At 22, I am the inaugural poet,'" she told CBS This Morning co-host Anthony Mason before her performance. She said she researched the speeches of Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as she began writing. "And then on the Wednesday in which we saw the insurrection at the Capitol, that was the day that the poem really came to life. And I really put the pedal to the metal," Gorman said. Gorman said the riots changed her poem and the message she wanted to deliver. "I wanted it to be a message of hope and unity. And I think that Wednesday for me really just underscored how much that was needed," she said. "But to not turn a blind eye to the cracks that really need to be filled."
“We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one…There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it—if only we’re brave enough to be it.”— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) January 20, 2021
Amanda Gorman makes history as youngest poet in recent history to read at a presidential inauguration: https://t.co/SDWXgVYVWw pic.twitter.com/4odPfeCTHB
Gorman was born and raised in Los Angeles and then did her Bachelors in sociology from Harvard University. She later became America’s first-ever national youth poet laureate in 2017. According to reports, it was president-elect Joe Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, who recommended her as his inaugural poet. “I wasn’t trying to write something in which those events were painted as an irregularity or different from an America that I know,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “America is messy. It’s still in its early development of all that we can become. And I have to recognize that in the poem. I can’t ignore that or erase it. And so, I crafted an inaugural poem that recognizes these scars and these wounds. Hopefully, it will move us toward healing them.”
In 2017, she read her poem 'In This Place' (An American Lyric) during the inauguration of the 22nd US poet laureate, Tracy K Smith. The poem condemns the events in Charlottesville (“tiki torches string a ring of flame / tight round the wrist of night”), going on to speak of the importance of poetry as a form of resistance. “Tyrants fear the poet. / Now that we know it / we can’t blow it. / We owe it / to show it / not slow it / although it / hurts to sew it / when the world / skirts below it.”
She has also performed for luminaries including Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The poet told the LA Times that she has struggled with a speech impediment as a child, which makes it hard for her to say certain sounds correctly. “I don’t look at my disability as a weakness,” she said. “It’s made me the performer that I am and the storyteller that I strive to be. When you have to teach yourself how to say sounds, when you have to be highly concerned about pronunciation, it gives you a certain awareness of sonics, of the auditory experience.”
As soon as her performance was over, people started adoring her on the internet, as one Twitter user said, "Amanda Gorman, fluid and fierce: a powerful and beautiful performance that carries the pain and relief of this moment into hope for the future @TheAmandaGorman #InaugurationDay." While another one said: "Well done Amanda Gorman. I've not held myself together this entire Inauguration, but you had such a powerful message. Thank you for your wonderful poetry"
Well done Amanda Gorman. I've not held myself together this entire Inauguration, but you had such a powerful message. Thank you for your wonderful poetry— MissJesStar 🏳️⚧️ (@RealJesStar) January 20, 2021
Complementing her one user tweeted, "Amanda Gorman stole the f*cking show with that, and it wasn’t even close tbh." And another one posted, "Amanda Gorman literally floored me. Such an outstandingly emotional and powerful poem. She executed it perfectly and I’m so glad I witnessed that. Wow. #InaugurationDay."
Amanda Gorman stole the fucking show with that, and it wasn’t even close tbh.— 🏳️🌈 Max 🏳️🌈 (@SpillerOfTea) January 20, 2021
Amanda Gorman literally floored me. Such an outstandingly emotional and powerful poem. She executed it ✨perfectly✨ and I’m so glad I witnessed that. Wow. #InaugurationDay— t 0 r s ॐ (@tewh00pz) January 20, 2021
You can follow her on Instagram here.